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Blood, Fire and Gold: The story of Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici Hardcover – 30 Jun. 2022

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 ratings

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Exciting and compelling, packed full of tantalising details of diplomacy and court life, Paranque succeeds both in bringing history to life, but also in putting flesh on the bones of these two extraordinary women and rival queens. ― Kate Mosse

A stunning portrayal of two of the most powerful women in European history. In another life, Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici might have been friends. But politics, religion and a bitter personal rivalry set them on a collision course that would dominate Anglo-French relations for three decades. A fresh, engaging and impeccably researched narrative that brings the characters of both queens vividly to life. Not to be missed. ―
Tracy Borman

Excellently told, this thrilling, lyrical story of two extraordinarily powerful women offers the missing piece in our understanding of Tudor England and Renaissance France. ―
Suzannah Lipscomb

A smart and stylish portrait of two of Europe's most remarkable rulers, a compelling profile of female power and - that rarest of things - a truly original book about the Tudor period. ―
Jessie Childs

Bursting with fresh perspectives, this is a vibrant retelling of a story you thought you knew ―
Dan Snow

Blood, Fire and Gold is a treasure house of historical detail that transports readers back to a time when court intrigue was quite literally a matter of life and death-especially for the women thrust into its dark heart. Spellbinding in its scope; cinematic in its rendering. Estelle Paranque is the perfect guide to this world, and an exciting, new voice in narrative history. ― Lindsey Fitzharris

Utterly absorbing and beautifully crafted, Estelle Paranque navigates her way through the intrigues and power struggles of the English and French courts with an expert hand. Through her gripping narrative, she brings two extraordinary women who experienced love, heartbreak, triumph and disaster masterfully to life.
Blood, Fire and Gold is pacy, colourful, and above all compulsively readable. A stunning debut. ― Nicola Tallis

An innovative and exciting way of studying the past from a brilliant historian.
Blood, Fire and Gold shines a new light onto the diplomatic tensions between sixteenth-century England and France, as well as the Wars of Religion, espionage, court intrigue, and the games of power. At its heart are the fascinating figures of Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici, whose tense and fascinating relationship is expertly told. ― Gareth Russell

Blood, Fire and Gold is an utterly absorbing blend of reimagining and scholarly analysis of the profoundly gendered world of power and politics in the 16th century. Dr Estelle Paranque masterfully draws together the strands of narrative of two of the most powerful Queens of Europe, engaged in a relentless and delicate balancing act of rivalry and common cause. Blood, Fire and Gold underscores the brilliance of these two women, who shaped and were in turn shaped by each other, their strength and political acumen forging a legacy for future queens. ― Lauren Mackay

As vivid and compelling as any novel, BLOOD, FIRE, AND GOLD is a real-life Game of Queens. Estelle Paranque presents these queens as exactly what they were-complex women in complex times. Immensely readable and thoroughly enjoyable, a must-read for history lovers. ―
Deanna Raybourn

About the Author

Estelle Paranque is an Assistant Professor in History at NCH at Northeastern (London campus). She has participated in several international historical documentaries on TV, including BBC Two's The Boleyns: A Scandalous Family (aired in August 2021), where she shared her knowledge of Anglo-French relations under Henry VIII's reign. She has also participated in Secrets d'Histoire (France 2/ France 3) as well as the history podcasts, HistoryHit, Not Just the Tudors, and Talking Tudors. She has extensively published on the Tudors and the Valois and is the author of Elizabeth I of England Through Valois Eyes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ebury Press (30 Jun. 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1529109221
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1529109221
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16.2 x 3.2 x 24 cm
  • Customer reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 16 ratings

About the author

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Historian, author, broadcaster, assistant professor in history. Specialised in Tudor, royal, diplomatic, and women history.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
16 global ratings
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Top reviews from United Kingdom

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 July 2022
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 July 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling & engaging!
By angharad on 1 July 2022
I pre-ordered Blood, Fire and Gold in December. Having followed some of the authors productions, I was excited to read about the relationship and transactions of two incredible women, in a time when women didn't have a clear voice.
I have long been intrigued with the Italian Renaissance especially the Medici and even though I have a reasonably good knowledge of the infamous family, I felt like I was learning all over again, discovering details in new and excitable way!
This book is excellent for those new to the subjects or those who are well versed in these two kingdoms.

Wonderfully compelling and utterly engaging!
Looking forward to the next book, whatever that may be.
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 July 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars History with lifeblood injected...
By Hollie Robinson-Perry on 20 July 2022
This does NOT read like a history textbook.

Instead, 'Blood, Fire and Gold' offers an insightful and colourfully fleshed out account of the relationship between Elizabeth I and Catherine de Medici, which altered the course of European history.

There are areas where the author has built dialogue between key historical figures, based on records of their meetings and the outcomes of them. This shows such amazing flair, and the ability to put expert knowledge and creative interpretation together is rare. All of a sudden, these distant figures felt real to me.

This book was a pleasure to read. It has reignited a love for historical non-fiction, which I haven't accessed in years.
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 August 2022
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 July 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars A breathtaking study
By Dr Owen Emmerson on 17 July 2022
BLOOD, FIRE & GOLD is a breathtaking study of the competitive and conflictive relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Catherine de Medici. Estelle Paranque’s fresh and compelling narrative approach is the perfect style in which to convey this extraordinary story of the rivalry, intrigue and heartbreak which defined their reigns. Impressively balancing a cinematic approach with a rigorous scholarly lens, this glorious study breaks new ground in terms of both style and substance. Perhaps most importantly, it gives us unrivalled access to a landscape in which female power and agency was experienced and exercised in early modern Europe. It is an extraordinary achievement.
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 July 2022